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Showing posts from December, 2013

Nebraska

From it's earliest sights and sounds - a vintage Paramount logo, black and white photography and a score rich with fiddle, dobro and other implements of Americana - Alexander Payne's Nebraska would seem to announce itself as something aiming for timelessness.  Something big and American and perhaps even profound. Hence, the broad, emblem of a title, placing us in the proverbial heartland of the country.  Bruce Springsteen did much the same in 1982 with an album bearing the state's name as its title, whose fairly bleak cycle of songs also tried to get at the simple heart of the country by way of some it less fortunate constituents.  Of course, Payne has a bit more claim to the title and state as a Nebraska native.
To his credit, Payne goes after his big theme -whatever that might be -  in a small way.  As usual, he grounds his work in very credible detail.  Payne has taken us on the road before, in About Schmidt and Sideways.  The director has a relatively keen eye for the…

Dallas Buyers' Club

Death, the most common of human experiences, is refracted through billions of individualized nightmares. Perhaps in time, when the reality settles with an inexorable gravity, when the dark dream is proven to be waking reality, grace comes.  Perhaps in time; perhaps for some.
There's a sense of nightmare about the initial scenes and images in Dallas Buyers' Club.  These occur at the bull riding portion of sparsely attended Texas rodeo.  In a darkened, unused stall just off the rodeo floor, a man is seen having sex with one and then a second woman against the wooden planks of the enclosure.  This hardly seems a life-affirming exercise.  Rather a desperate, shadowy rutting.  Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), the cowboy in question with the very active libido, gazes between the boards onto the dirt of the ring to see another cowboy lying motionless after feeling the wrath of the bull he had just attempted to ride.  A rodeo clown comes into focus, like some particularly garish …